Tak­ing risks? Lloyd is fine with that

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter kevin. bax­ter@ latimes. com

OT­TAWA — Carli Lloyd con­tin­ues to be­lieve the U. S. will snap out of the scor­ing slump that has plagued it through­out the Women’s World Cup.

“I’ve got full con­fi­dence in ev­ery­one, faith in ev­ery­one, that we’ll even­tu­ally find our rhythm,” she said Wed­nes­day. “Our best is yet to come.” But will it come too late? The U. S., which has scored three goals in its last three games, meets China in the quar­ter­fi­nals Fri­day. Un­der the best- case sce­nario, the Amer­i­cans have just three World Cup games left.

Un­der the worst- case sce­nario, their tour­na­ment ends Fri­day.

Ei­ther way, there’s not a lot of time left to f ig­ure things out. So Lloyd would like to see the U. S. dump its con­ser­va­tive de­fen­sive pos­ture and play more ag­gres­sively against China.

“Yes, the de­fen­sive shape has been strong,” said Lloyd, who has played ev­ery minute of this World Cup in the mid­field. “But in or­der for us to win this thing and in or­der for us to show the world what we’ve got, we’ve got to take risks at some point.”

Lloyd, 32, who has a goal in the tour­na­ment, says the U. S. has been hold­ing back, partly through a fear of mak­ing mis­takes and partly by de­sign. Both can be f ixed, the first by get­ting play­ers to trust their in­stincts rather than over­think­ing ev­ery de­ci­sion and the sec­ond by push­ing the de­fen­sive line for­ward and go­ing with just three mid­field­ers.

“When­ever you have three in the mid­field, it def­i­nitely helps kind of push on the at­tack a lit­tle bit,” she said. “We’re a bit deeper with our de­fen­sive pres­sure, so it’s kind of a ways to get up and link with those for­wards.”

But though that may be the way Lloyd wants to play, she ad­mit­ted that won’t be her call.

“We’re fol­low­ing the di­rec­tions of the coaches,” she said.

“We’re do­ing ev­ery­thing they ask of us.” Welcome back

U. S. de­fender Lori Chalupny played ev­ery minute of the 2007 World Cup but missed the next one four years later while deal­ing with a se­ries of con­cus­sions. That didn’t de­rail her pro ca­reer, but it did keep her from be­ing called up to the na­tional team.

Af­ter un­der­go­ing nu­mer­ous ex­ams in 2014, though, Chalupny was cleared by U. S. Soc­cer to re­join the team and in Mon­day’s round of 16 win over Colom­bia she was back on the f ield at a World Cup, play­ing nine min­utes off the bench.

“It’s been a long time,” Chalupny, 31, said of the eight- year gap be­tween World Cup ap­pear­ances. “It feels good to get back out on the field.” Another sell­out?

The U. S.- China quar­ter­fi­nal at 24,000- seat TD Place Sta­dium is ex­pected to be sold out, which would mark the third time in f ive games the U. S. team has played be­fore a full house in this World Cup. And in one of the oth- ers, the Amer­i­cans played be­fore an an­nounced crowd of 52,193 in Van­cou­ver’s BC Place, fall­ing about 2,000 short of a sell­out.

“We’re get­ting pretty spoiled with the crowds,” said Lloyd, who is play­ing in her third World Cup. “The fans have been amaz­ing. Great for the women’s game. Great for us.”

The fans’ en­thu­si­asm has caused some prob­lems, though. Amer­i­can de­fender Meghan Klin­gen­berg said the fans are so loud she some­times has trou­ble hear­ing in­struc­tions from goal­keeper Hope Solo.

“But she’s com­mu­ni­cat­ing,” Klin­gen­berg said. “You can see her point­ing.”

Jason Franson As­so­ci­ated Press

“OUR BEST is yet to come,” says Carli Lloyd ( 10), shown dur­ing U. S.’ vic­tory Mon­day over Colom­bia. Lloyd has scored a goal in the cur­rent tour­na­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.